A great story about sin and redemption.
Molly Anne Dutton shouldn't be here today. Not according to the opinion polls. Even many pro-life Christians make an exception that would have snuffed out her life.
Her mother survived every woman's nightmare: sexual assault. But then her agony was compounded with a positive pregnancy test. As if the situation could get worse, her husband told her to get an abortion or sign the divorce papers.
With the help of Lifeline Children's Services in Birmingham, Alabama, Molly Anne's mother chose to carry her to term and give her up for adoption. Due to their service on Lifeline's board, Molly Anne's adoptive parents knew of her situation and decided to adopt her.
Two decades later, Molly Anne was elected homecoming queen this fall at Auburn University. Her "Light Up LIFE" campaign sought to educate women about their options when faced with unplanned pregnancy. The horticulture major told me her story, how she understands her adoption in light of the gospel, and why all children made in the image of God deserve a home. Thank you to Betsy Childs for helping me generate the questions.
How and when did your parents tell you the story about your biological mother?
I discovered my story and the story of my birth mother by stumbling upon my adoption papers one afternoon in the attic. I was around 14 at the time. I have always been mesmerized by photos of our family throughout the years; little did I know that my adoption papers were tucked in between the papers of our family history.
Since then, my mom and I have discussed the circumstances surrounding my adoption. In saying that, a great question to then ask is how did I receive the news. I truly believe because I sat as a believer whose hope in Christ, I never saw the details of my birth as a shameful event. What the enemy has intended for harm, the Lord has and continues to use for so much good (Genesis 50:20)
Have you always been comfortable sharing your story?
I love this question. Yes, I have always felt comfortable sharing my story. I am honored to carry this story. Yes, it is unique because my life sounds out the voice that this world does not get to hear often. I know there is power between each space in my sentences and tucked beside each dotted "i" and crossed "t." There is no power in it because of my words, but it drenches with beauty due to this being the exact picture of our own adoption in Christ. Josh Caldwell, manager of involvement and partnerships at Lifeline Child Services, describes it so perfectly. My adoption might have started as a tragedy, but didn't our relationship with Jesus also start with a tragedy? That tragedy was dripping the bloodshed of the cross. Today, we stand as sons and daughters in his very kingdom.
Have you thought about what you would want to say to your biological mother?
My mind, body, and soul are full of gratitude. I'm so unbelievably thankful to God for knitting me; thankful for my parents who so lovingly carried me out of Lifeline in their arms; and I'm speechless before a woman who was courageous to break through confusion and fear to give birth to me. In her womb she carried me, and by her heart she chose to give me a chance to walk and spread the good news of the gospel. Little did she know that her hope would become wrapped up in truth and power.
Your story greatly encourages so many of us, and we're proud of your fellow students for recognizing you with this honor. But not every adoption has a conventional happy ending. Many adoptive parents take on great challenges with children born with genetic defects and mental disabilities. Why do you think it's still worth parents taking this risk to adopt even if they don't know their children will grow up to be like you?
We all need love, and we all deserve a family that loves us, no matter our disabilities. In a lot of cultures, anyone with a genetic defect or mental disability is considered an outcast or unworthy. However, as these children's parents, men and women get a unique opportunity to pour truth onto the buffet of lies. Yes, the children are worthy. Yes, they are valued. Yes, they too are offered the love of Christ. Obviously, many challenges are presented with a a family walking down that road. However, God has a heart for all. He will bless son, daughter, father, mother alike.
Tell us about Lifeline Children's Services and what makes their work worth supporting.
Through this campaign, I know there are so many intangible victories that my eyes will never witness while on this earth. In saying that, we all get to witness Lifeline's fruits. God produces an abundant harvest through Lifeline. The fruit is in every birth mother who walks through the door, every child placed in foster care, and it is in every cry of a newborn child. Lifeline's heart is in the hope of the gospel. It has and will continue to serve as vessel of righteousness—serving to display the Lord's splendor. I am honored to support Lifeline, because Lifeline supported me through her availability, through her foundation of the Word, and through her counseling with my birth mother 22 years ago. For information about Lifeline Children Services, check out lifelinechild.org.
Collin Hansen serves as editorial director for The Gospel Coalition. He is the co-author of A God-Sized Vision: Revival Stories That Stretch and Stir. He and his wife belong to Redeemer Community Church in Birmingham, Alabama, and he serves on the advisory board of Beeson Divinity School. You can follow him on Twitter.